Effects of Paracelsus on Ottoman MedicineJune 27, 2021
Bursalı Ali Müngi has a work called Cerrahname as well as his translations and works introducing the current of iatrochemistry. Intense effect of iatrochemistry current is seen in it. In particular, the influence of Paracelsus, who is considered to be the founder of this current, makes itself felt.
About the similarities between Paracelsus’ views on surgery and Ali Müngi’s views on this subject. Paracelsus was more interested in medical treatment than surgery, but still, as a physician, what are his thoughts on surgery? According to Paracelsus, internal medicine and surgery must be based not only on science but also on philosophy, and a doctor must be not only a medical doctor but also a surgeon and a physician. Medicine is not just about daily changes and developments; The physician must know all diseases, wounds and how to treat them. The physician has to use his eyes and ears; Don’t be ashamed to ask questions. You can’t find everything in the books of Galen and Hippocrates.
Likewise, Paracelsus says about the new surgery: Surgery has to know the bones and other structure of man; Otherwise, how can you diagnose? You have to know not only the external structure, but also the internal structure, you must know all the veins and arteries, nerves, bones, their shape and length, their location.
Likewise, like Avicenna, Paracelsus argues that anatomy is required for surgical intervention. According to him, the surgeon must know more than a barber or a butcher separates tendons or fibers. He even states with an example what kind of knowledge the surgeon should have. The surgeon has to know the patient’s temperament, otherwise he will give the wrong medicine, and it will ruin the patient, he cannot replace a amputated leg with a new leg. I saw a barber-surgeon in Veriul. He was trying to stick a cut ear in place with some kind of glue. This act was described as a miracle; there were cries of joy; However, the ear fell out the next day. Likewise, when the leg is glued, it will also fall.
Here, Paracelsus opposes the studies on organ reparation surgeries of his time. These types of studies have attracted the attention of many surgeons, including Ambroise Pare.
According to Paracelsus, a surgeon must know all plants; he has to know how to use them, whether they act very quickly or slowly. In addition, their effects should be known, and the surgeon should know whether their effects are on muscles, bones or veins. For example, it is necessary to know whether the balm is effective for fractures or wounds. In addition, according to the open and unprotected wound, with an appropriate dressing, it should be cleaned and protected from external influences. As much as possible, it should help the healing power of nature to heal the wound. This is possible, first of all, with good nutrition.
Let’s look at how Bursalı Ali Efendi defines surgery in his work Cerrahname: it deals with various situations that are faulty in the body; These are the procedures performed to return the body to its accustomed state. For example, such as the treatment of formed skewers: Ali Münşi, who determined surgery in this way, emphasizes the importance of knowing anatomy in order to be able to perform this art, like Paracelsus and İbn-i Sina. Also, like Paracelsus, we see that he also emphasizes the philosophical side of surgery.
When the Cerrahname is examined, it is generally determined that the treatment was carried out more medically, as Paracelsus had suggested. As can be understood from this information, Cerrahname is not a typical surgical book. Probably, our author Ali Münşi must have written such a work under the influence of Paracelsus and Hildanus (1560-1624), who lived a while after him. Hildanus’ name is frequently encountered in Cerrahname along with Galen and Avicenna. He was a scientist who was accepted as the founder of surgery in Germany during the Hildanus period. He drew attention with his explanations about amputation in gangrene events and especially the ligation technique in hip amputation in his Observationes Medico-Chirurgicae (Basel 1606). As it is known, that period was a time when surgery was still taking important steps towards becoming a science.
However, it is understood from Cerrahname and his other works that Paracelsus’s influence was more dominant than these two scientists on Ali of Bursa. The fact that Ali Münşi from Bursa in his work Cerrahname prefers multidrug treatment in surgical cases can be accepted as proof of this. In addition, it is obvious that the influence of Galen and other classical medicine writers continues in Ali Münşi, as can be seen in the scientists he was influenced by.